All posts in Handbags

Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag History

The History of the Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag

In honor of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s birthday, we’re taking a look at the history of Balenciaga’s most iconic handbags: the Motorcycle  bag.

Today is also Christian Dior’s birthday, and if you haven’t already, check out our post on the History of the Lady Dior bag.

Cristóbal Balenciaga

Cristobal BalenciagaLeft: Alberta Tiburzi (in Balenciaga) by Hiro Yasuhiro Wakabayashi for Harper’s Bazaar (1967). Right: Cristóbal Balenciaga by Roger Viollet (1927)

 

We cannot talk about the Motorcycle bag without talking about the man behind the house, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Balenciaga was born in the Basque region of Spain in 1895. His fashion career started at age 12, when he began working as a tailor. Soon enough, young Cristóbal was sent to Madrid, to further his tailoring skills, through his customer and patron, the Marquesa de Casa Torres (1). Balenciaga enjoyed fame in his native Spain, even going as far as to open a few boutiques. However, when the Spanish civil war began in 1936, Balenciaga moved to Paris, where he opened his own couture house.

Cristóbal Balenciaga is remembered as a private man who did not like the press; he only gave one full interview his whole life. However, his work was nothing short of art. He was continuously praised by contemporary designers, like Christian Dior, who said he was “the master of us all,” and Coco Chanel, who declared Balenciaga “a couturier in the truest sense of the word…The others are simply fashion designers.” (2)

The Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Ava Gardner, and other trendsetters of the time (many of whom are still considered style icons to this day) were admirers and patrons of Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Now, more than 40 years after his passing, he’s still remembered as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) couturiers of all time.

Balenciaga Motorcycle bags available on PORTERO.comPre-owned Balenciaga City Classic Studs Toile Raye $745. Pre-owned Balenciaga Cream Arena Folded Lambskin Tote $525. Pre-owned Balenciaga Purple Giant 12 $1,150. Pre-owned Balenciaga Papier Sight Yellow Large Envelope Clutch $690

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Difference Between Birkin and Kelly bags; a fact sheet and infographic

We get asked about the difference between the Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags quite often, so we’ve decided to put together a handy guide and simple infographic to help you tell them apart. Although both bags come with their pros and cons, choosing one over the other is ultimately a very personal decision. However, we hope we can help you decide which bag bests fits your lifestyle.

The Kelly Bag

The difference between Birkin and Kelly

- The Kelly bag is the oldest of the two, and the easiest way to tell it apart from the Birkin is by the number of handles. The Kelly is a top handle bag, meaning it only has one handle.

See: Everything You Need to Know About the Hermès Kelly Bag

- The Kelly comes with a detachable shoulder straps, which allow for hands free carrying. This is a great bag for busy moms, or anybody who likes having their hands free.

- The Hermès Kelly bag can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the ocassion. There are two types of Kelly bags: Sellier and Retourne; the Sellier is usually considered a dressier, more structured bag, but the Retourne looks great with any casual outfit.

See: The Kelly Debate; Kelly Sellier vs. Kelly Retourne

- Compared to the Birkin, the Kelly is not as wide, so it fits less.

- The Kelly bag also comes in two more presentations: the elongated Kelly Cut, also known as Kelly Clutch, and the mini Kelly Pochette, both on which can be found on PORTERO.

- Although we’ve seen some daring women carry their Kelly bags open, most women carry them close, since their contents could easily fall out.

Hermes Kelly bags available on PORTERO.comPre-owned Hermès Anemone Togo Kelly 35cm with Palladium Hardware $15,345. Pre-owned Hermès Soufre Epsom Kelly 32cm with Palladium Hardware $15,750. Hermès Blue Atoll Togo Kelly 32cm with Palladium Hardware $17,500. Pre-owned Hermès Black Lizard Kelly 28cm with Gold Hardware $28,000

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Hermès Himalayan and Diamonds Birkin

Everything You Need to Know About the Hermès Birkin Bag

In honor of Jane Birkin’s birthday, we’re taking a look at the history of the iconic handbag named after her, sometimes referred to as “The Holy Grail of Handbags,” the Hermès Birkin Bag.

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin (1946-) is an English singer and actress, based in France, known for movies like “Histoire de Melody Nelson,” “Death on the Nile,” and “Je t’aime…moi non plus.” She is also known for her 12-year relationship with renowned French actor, singer, poet, writer, and all around artist, Serge Gainsbourg. Jane Birkin’s beauty and sex appeal made her a popular fashion icon. Because of her haute-hippie style and free spirit, she was often photographed carrying a straw basket, which she used in lieu of a regular handbag.

Hermès Birkin History

Birkin bags available on PORTERO.comPre-owned Rouge Vif Veau Grain Lisse Birkin with Gold Hardware $8,135. Pre-owned White Clemence Birkin 35 with Palladium Hardware $9,175. Pre-owned Blue Jean Birkin with Palladium Hardware $9,245. Pre-owned Noisette Swift Birkin with Gold Hardware $9,400.

 

The History – a Chance Encounter

Jane Birkin and her Birkin bag

In 1981, Hermès’ chief executive, Jean-Louis Dumas, sat next to Birkin on a short Paris – London flight. They say Birkin attempted to place her straw bag in the overhead compartment of her first-class seat, but all the contents fell to the floor, and she had to scramble to get them. She complained about not being able to find a leather weekend bag to fit her style. The legend says the two of them designed a bag together, sketching it on an air sickness bag, but we have no way to prove that.

What we do know is that the Hermès Birkin bag was first introduced in 1984, and its design was based on an 1892 bag called “Haute Courroies,” the same bag that inspired the much younger Hermès Kelly bag.

Read: Everything You Need to Know About the Hermès Kelly Bag

Hermes Birkin bags available on PORTERO.comPre-owned Blue Izmir Birkin 30cm with Palladium Goldware $13,900. Bougainvillea Epsom Birkin 35cm with Gold Hardware $17,500. Raisin Togo Birkin 25 cm with Gold Hardware $19,374. Craie Togo Birkin 25 cm with Gold Hardware $17,613

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Five Luxury Handbags Every Woman Should Own

Five Luxury Bags Every Woman Should Own

Women who love luxury and fine leather goods must have these five handbags in their closets.

1. Louis Vuitton Speedy

Louis Vuitton Monogram Speedy 35 available on PORTERO.comPre-owned Louis Vuitton Monogram Speedy 35 $380

 

The Louis Vuitton Speedy is what we call “a starter bag.”  The Speedy is usually the first luxury bag many women purchase. Although it’s an investment, it’s the most affordable bag on this list. Its timeless shape is instantly recognizable, and it has been carried by many style icons, like Audrey Hepburn. The Speedy comes in four different sizes (and one mini version) for the woman who wants to carry a little, or a lot. The Speedy has kept its iconic shape since it was first introduced in the 1930s, but it has been reinvented many times in prints like Damier, and Multicolore by Murakami, as well as in different materials, like epi leather and denim. At PORTERO you can find pristine and pre-owned Speedy bags, as well many other Louis Vuitton handbags; each one under the PORTERO Promise, guaranteeing authenticity and quality.

Read: The Five Most Iconic Louis Vuitton Handbags

Louis Vuitton Speedy Handbags available on PORTERO.comPre-owned Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Speedy 25 $690. Pre-owned Louis Vuitton Burgundy Empreinte Speedy Bandouliere 25 $1,850. Pre-owned Louis Vuitton Cube Pony Hair Speedy 25 $1,645. Pre-owned Louis Vuitton Red Epi Leather Speedy 30 $699.

 

2. Louis Vuitton Neverfull

Louis Vuitton Neverfull Damier Ebene available on PORTERO.comPre-Owned Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Neverfull GM $1,035

 

The Neverfull was launched in 2007, but has since become a staple of the Louis Vuitton fashion house. It’s a very popular tote for the woman (or man) on the go, because of its roomy structure; it’s also a favorite travel bag! Depending on your needs, there are three sizes available: PM, MM, and GM. The Neverfull can also be made smaller by folding the sides. Find Louis Vuitton Neverfull bags on PORTERO.com.

Read: Louis Vuitton Patina

Louis Vuitton Neverfull bags available on PORTERO.comLouis Vuitton Rose Indiene Monogram Ikat Neverfull GM $2,900. Pre-owned Louis Vuitton Neverfull Rayures XL $2,780. Pre-owned Louis Vuitton Blue Monogram Idylle Neverfull MM $950. Pre-owned Louis Vuitton Monogram Neverfull MM $895

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Types of Chanel Leathers and Skins

Chanel Half Moon Flap Bag available on PORTERO.com

Chanel has immortalized itself as one of the world’s chicest and classiest brands, completely in tuned with the stylish and functional needs of its devotees. From the iconic Classic Chanel Flap to the most avant-garde of designs, Chanel never disappoints when it comes to elegance and impeccable craftsmanship. Below, our Senior Director of Handbags and accessories, Elizabeth Bernstein, has compiled six of the most common Chanel leathers and materials used in their exquisite handbags, in alphabetical order.

1. Calfskin

Chanel Calfskin Leather

Calfskin leather is one of Chanel’s most versatile materials, being offered in many presentations, like Aged Calfskin, Glazed Calfskin, and Metallic Calfskin. Produced from cow hide, calfskin leather, with its small grain, is quite smooth to the touch, and looks beautiful when quilted, as seen on this Black Quilted Calfskin Boy Bag. This bag represents a smoother calfskin, whereas a distressed calfskin would have a heavier feel and looked more crinkled.

Read: Five Things to Know When Buying Vintage Chanel Bags

Chanel Calfskin Handbags available on PORTERO.comPre-owned Silver Chanel Calfskin Reissue $2,799. Black Chanel Quilted Calfskin Jumbo Cambon Tote $1,550. Gold Chanel Aged Calfskin Lucky Charms Reissue bag $8,800. Gold Chanel Distressed Calfskin Wallet on Chain $3,600.

 

2. Caviar

Chanel Caviar Leather

Caviar leather has a very interesting look. Unlike Lambskin, Caviar is grainy and harder to the touch. This type of material is made out of grainy calfksin leather. Caviar leather is very durable and will not show scratches as easily as Lambskin. Although we recommend not using the same bag every day, caviar has the potential to be used more often, as it will not show significant wear over time. Rather than scratching or ripping, it will gain a nice sheen overtime from the natural patina of the leather.

Read: Chanel 2.55 Bags: Classic vs. Reissue

Caviar Leather Handbags available on PORTERO.comChanel Black Quilted Caviar Leather Jumbo Flap Bag $6,250. Pink Chanel Caviar Wallet On Chain $2,799. Pre-owned Black Jumbo Chanel Caviar Shopper Tote $1,699. Beige Chanel Quilted Caviar Classic Flap Bag $7,200.

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Bottega Veneta Knot Clutch

Bottega Veneta Knot Clutch History

Bottega Veneta Knot Bags available on PORTERO.comBottega Veneta Scarab Knot Clutch $1,800. Bottega Veneta Black Satin Intrecciato Knot Bag $690. Bottega Veneta Red Crocodile Knot Clutch 2,980. Bottega Veneta Studs Knot Bag $1,400

 

The Knot Clutch, or simply known as The Knot, has only been around since 2001, but it’s already an iconic bag for the Italian luxury goods house, Bottega Veneta; which means “Venetian Shop.”

“The Knot is very much a symbol of Bottega Veneta, a link to the company’s history and to its future,” says Bottega Veneta’s Creative Director, Tomas Maier. When he first joined the prestigious Italian luxury house in 2001, he took a look at the small rounded clutch Bottega Veneta previously designed, and decided to give it a face lift by incorporating this motif as the new clasp, and now it’s one of the most recognizable and beloved icons of the Italian house.

The Knot bag has been reimagined countless of times, ranging from the demure to the extravagant. The Knot, featured with every new Bottega Veneta collection since 2001, has highlighted another icon of the house the intrecciato. It has been dressed in simple leathers of exceptional quality, wrapped in the most exotic of fabrics, and been reinvented again and again. Yet, one thing is certain: The Knot never fails to amaze.

Bottega Veneta is know for their minimal branding: you will not find a logo or trademark anywhere, yet, their bags are instantly recognizable. The Knot is no exception, since it’s clasp makes it instantly identifiable. Bottega Veneta is a brand for people who enjoy subtle luxury (it is loved by many European royals, after all, like Princess Madeleine of Sweden, or Princess Marie of Denmark) and fine Italian craftsmanship.

At PORTERO.com you will find pristine and pre-owned Knot bags, many other Bottega Veneta handbags, and bags by luxury designers like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès. Shop authentic pre-owned luxury on PORTERO.

Bottega Veneta Knot Clutches available on PORTERO2Bottega Veneta Gold and Black Leather Box Clutch $1,400. Bottega Veneta Red Crocodile Knot Clutch $2,800. Bottega Veneta Grey Crocodile Box Clutch $3,300. Bottega Veneta Black Python Knot Clutch $1,800
Everything you need to know about the Hermès Kelly Bag

Everything You Need to Know About the Hermès Kelly Bag

In honor of Grace Kelly’s birthday, we’re taking a look at the history of the iconic handbag named after her: the Hermès Kelly bag.

The History

The original Grace Kelly BagThe original Hermès Kelly handbag, in exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Photo: REX FEATURES

 

The very first prototype for the Kelly bag was introduced circa 1892, as a bag to hold saddles; Hermès does have a equine background, after all, which was called “Haut à courroies.” In 1923, Emille Maurice Hermès redesigned the “Haut à courroies” bag for his wife; it was smaller, but still big enough to hold saddle. It wasn’t until the 1930s when Hermès’ son-in-law, Robert Dumas, remade the “Haut à courroies” into the “Sac à dépêche,” a simple yet  stylish bag, with a trapezoid shape, closed with two straps, and four studs on the bottom, allowing the bag to remain upright when placed on a flat surface.

Hermès Kelly bags available on PORTERO.comBlack Togo Kelly 28cm with Gold Hardware $19,750. Blue Paradis Swift Kelly Pochette with Palladium Hardware $24,500. Vintage Orange H Kelly 32cm with Gold Hardware $7,300. Craie Swift Kelly Cut with Gold Hardware $14,995.

 

The Princess

Grace Kelly Bag

Grace Patricia Kelly (1929-1982) was an American Hollywood actress, best known for her roles in films like High Noon, To Catch a Thief, and High Society. In 1956, she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco, and Grace Kelly became Princess of Monaco, a sovereign state in the French Riviera that, although independent from France, speaks the same language and maintains a similar joie de vivre. The story of the American actress turned princess captivated thousands across the world, and nobody could deny her beauty, elegance, and style.

In the 1995 Alfred Hitchcock film, “To Catch a Thief,” Grace Kelly, who played a millionaire’s spoiled daughter, carried Hermès’ “Sac à dépêches,” and instantly loved it. After marrying Prince Rainier, Grace used her Hermès bag to hide her growing pregnant belly from the paparazzi. Soon, the public started associating this handbag with Grace Kelly and began calling it the “Kelly Bag.”  However, it wasn’t until 1977 that Hermès officially rebaptize the Sac à dépêches as the Kelly bag.

Hermès Kelly bags available on PORTERO.comLimited Edition Kelly Flag 32cm White and Blue Thalassa $19,999. Green Bamboo Kelly 28cm with Palladium Hardware $13,999. Rose Confetti Epsom Kelly Pochette $17,600. Pre-owned Berenia and Rouge Toile Couvertures Horse Print Kelly 32cm $24,999.

 

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Why are Birkin Bags More Expensive in the Secondary Market?

Hermès Birkin bags

Out of all the coveted luxury items in the world, the Hermès Birkin is the most desired handbag. Sometimes referred to as “The Holy Grail” of handbags, the Birkin is a symbol of status, taste, and affluence. First created in 1984, and named after British actress and singer Jane Birkin, the demand for this handbag, more than 20 years later, is sky-high. The Birkin was not an immediate hit, but it became very popular in the 90s, when there was a boom of “It” handbags. In the 2001 episode of Sex and the City, Samantha tries to purchase a Birkin, only to be told there was a five-year wait list.

“It’s not a bag, it’s a Birkin,” said the sales associate.

Read: The 10 Most Popular Hermès Birkin Colors

A huge part of the appeal of the Birkin is that not everyone can get their hands on one. “There is no guarantee that you can ever walk into an Hermès boutique and walk out with a Birkin,” says Elizabeth Bernstein, Senior  Senior Director of Handbags and accessories of PORTERO.com. “Now, if you are a very good customer, spend loads on other Hermès items, and develop a good relationship with a Sales Associate, you might get added to the wait list.  If you do get on the list it can take up to two years to have your bag made.” Although demand is high, quantities are low.

So what is a woman, dying to get her hands on a Birkin, to do? She can purchase an authentic Hermès Birkin in the secondary market, from trusted sellers, like PORTERO. At an Hermès boutique, Birkin bags start at $10,000 and go up to six figures for more exotic skins and materials. In the secondary market, however, there is a premium for Birkin bags.

Birkin Bags available on PORTERO.comRouge Casaque Epsom Birkin 30cm with Palladium Hardware $21,500. Tangerine Ostrich Birkin 30cm with Palladium Hardware $40,000. Pre-Owned Kiwi Epson Birkin 35cm with Palladium Hardware $16,995. Emerald Green Shiny Nilo Crocodile Birkin 30cm with Gold Hardware $109,000.

 

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A French Connection; French Fashion Designers

What is it about the French that exemplifies elegance and sophistication? Is it something in the water, or the eau, is it the French air that makes French designers so effortlessly chic? French design is instantly recognizable by the clean silhouettes, and minimalist approach. The French truly believe that “Less is More,” after all, it was Mademoiselle Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel who first said “Before you go out, always take something off.” Get to know our Top 5 French Fashion Designers and maisons (in alphabetical order).

1. Cartier

CartierPre-owned Cartier Small Tank Francaise Watch $2,460. Cartier Ballon Bleu Watch with Diamonds $49,500.  Pre-owned Cartier Pasha C Watch $3,700. Pre-Owned Cartier Trinity Ring $8,200.

The “Jeweler to Kings and King of Jewelers,” Cartier was founded  in 1847, when Louis-François Cartier inherited a jewelry workshop in Paris from his master. However, it was his grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, who are responsible for making Cartier a world-renowned brand. In 1904, Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont complained to his friend, Louis Cartier, how unreliable pocket watches were when flying. And so, Cartier designed a flat watch that could be worn around the wrist, with a distinctive square bezel, and Cartier’s first men’s wristwatch was born: The “Santos.”

Cartier timepieces are the pure definition of sophistication. From the sleek elegant lines of a Cartier Tank to the masculine details on the Cartier Roadster, each Cartier watch model is a true classic.

In addition to creating iconic timepieces, Cartier has created some of the most coveted jewelry of all time, including the iconic LOVE collection.

Read: The Story Behind the LOVE Collection.

2. Chanel

Chanel

Pre-owned Chanel Classic Flap Bag $2,100. Chanel Purple Leather Bracelet $699. Chanel Diamond Watch $8,120. Chanel Pink Ombrè WOC $3,200.  Gold ChanelBoy Bag $7,500.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel had a very humble start in life, but now she is one of the most important people in the history of fashion. She began her business in 1909, when she opened a hat shop in Paris, which was very popular among ladies of society. A year later, she opened a bigger hat shop at 31 Rue Cambon, and two years later, Coco was selling pret-a-porter women’s clothes. Tired of the unnatural and uncomfortable fashion of the time, mademoiselle Chanel introduced a revolutionary line of clothing made out of jersey and other comfortable materials, that allowed women ease of movement.

Chanel further liberated women’s hands by creating the first bag with long straps, for toting leisure, when she created the Flap bag, one of the most recognizable handbags in the world. Today, the Chanel maison thrives under the direction of Karl Lageferld, continuing to surprise its devotees season after season, but while still keeping the elegance and sophistication first envisioned by Mademoiselle Chanel.

Also see: How to Care for your Chanel bag.

Read: Five Things to Know When Buying Vintage Chanel.

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Four Reasons Why You Should Only Buy Authentic Designer Handbags

Counterfeit handbagsPhoto courtesy of The Korea Times

Here at PORTERO we are committed to bringing you nothing but 100% authentic designer handbags and accessories- that’s our promise, and we don’t take it lightly. Although we ship worldwide, PORTERO’s headquarters are in the U.S., where selling counterfeit merchandise is illegal, as it violates both trademark and copyright laws. Although buying knockoffs is not technically a crime, we still want to discourage everyone from doing so.

Here are four reasons why you should not buy counterfeit handbags:

1. Counterfeit handbags have most likely been made in sweat shops with little to no regulation. We don’t know who works there, how many hours, or how much they get paid. It takes a seasoned Hermès craftsman about 18 hours to make a single bag, but it could take a young child six hours to make your fake bag.

2. Counterfeit good dealers sell their products tax free. This could give way to corruption and lack of government regulation.

3. Although purchasing a counterfeit item is not illegal per se, selling a fake item is. Don’t get caught up in this game.

4. According to the department of Homeland Security, profits made from the counterfeit market are linked to organized crime, like terrorist organizations and drug cartels.

That’s why we want to encourage you to always buy your designer goods from reputable sites, like PORTERO.com. As always, one of our customer service professional will be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions. You can get in touch with them by calling 1.877.962.2398, emailing customercare@portero.com, or via Live Chat.

Questions about authenticity? Here’s everything you need to know to spot a fake designer handbag.

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